This is my 30,000 foot look at events in the Tech industry for August 2018. What you see here is a précis of the monthly report I produce, which will be available in more detail at the News section of the Eagle website, where you will also find back issues.
A Little History of August in previous years …
Five years ago in August 2013 IBM paid $1 billion for Trusteer, a cybersecurity company specialized in the financial services sector; Qualcomm sold its fleet management software unit for $800 million to private equity firm Vista Equity Partners; and the other big dollar buy was AOL paying $405 million for online video company Adap.tv. Facebook bought speech recognition company Mobile Technology; Software AG bought analytics firm Jackbe; Opentext paid $33 million for cloud based software company, Cordys; and SAP bought ecommerce company Hybris.
August 2014 saw no blockbuster deals, however a number of big name companies were out with their cheque books. Intel paid $650 million for the LSI Axxia networking chip business; Vmware bought application delivery provider CloudVolumes; IBM bought Lighthouse Security Group to bolster its cloud based identity and access management capabilities; Google bought two startups, Emu to boost its messaging capabilities and Directr for its video advertising business; Facebook bought a security startup Privatecore, and the last BIG name saw Yahoo buying app company Zofari.
Three years ago in August 2015 there were two billion dollar deals. Symantec sold Veritas (which it paid $13.5 Billion dollars for 10 years ago) to a group of investors for $8 Billion. IBM also paid ”big bucks”, shelling out $1 billion for Merge Healthcare. Smaller deals saw Calgary based Above Security bought by Hitachi; Transcomos bought 30% of Vietnamese daily deals site Hotdeal; Freshdesk bought live-chat company 1Click; and PLDT bought ecommerce startup Paywhere.
August 2016 saw a fair bit of M&A activity although there were no billion dollar deals. The largest deal saw global staffing company Randstad buy one of the larger job boards, Monster for $429 million. A similar sized deal saw Intel shell out $408 million for artificial intelligence company Nervana. Hewlett Packard Enterprises paid $275 million for SGI (what was left of Silicon Graphics); Apple paid $200 million for artificial intelligence company, (there is a pattern here), Turi; Salesforce bought business analytics company Beyondcore for $100 million; and ScanSource paid $83.6 million for telecom cloud services company Intelisys Communications. Other acquisitions saw Microsoft snap up two companies, artificial intelligence scheduling software company Genee in addition to their XBox division buying interactive livestreaming company Beam.
Last year August 2017 was relatively slow on the M&A front. Symantec sold its website security business to DigiCert for $1 billion, plus a stake in the larger entity. Cisco paid $320 million for hyperconvergence company Springpath, CGI bought a Pittsburgh consulting company, Summa Technologies and Accenture bought a Toronto consulting company VERAX. While not a pure tech play the biotech world saw Aclaris pay $100million for Confluence.
Which brings us back to the present …
August 2018, saw a fair amount of M&A activity, a lot of smaller deals, a few significant moves and some recognizable names out buying companies. The big deal of the month saw Cisco pay $2.35 billion for access security company Duo Security. In other deals VMWare paid $500 million for cloud management company CloudHealth; and HP splashed out $500 million for Europe’s largest print provider, Apogee. Apple snapped up Augmented reality startup Akonia; Accenture made two small acquisitions in the digital space, Mindtribe and Pillar Technology; Intel picked up a small AI company Vertex.Ai and Vonage paid $35 million for video company TokBox.
Apple was also in the news because it became the first public company to reach a $1 trillion valuation, and they were quickly followed by Amazon.
General job indicators were good in Canada and even better in the US, which continues to see strong job growth. There were several reports indicating a growing skills gap for key roles, particularly in tech, both in Canada and the US. Elsewhere around the world job indicators were relatively strong, with a few exceptions due to Brexit or other external factors. Of course Canadians continue to watch the unfolding sagas of NAFTA negotiations and the bungled oil pipeline, concerned about what that might do to our economy.
On a final note, “digital” continues to be hot, with Canadian firms expected to spend more than $16 billion on digital tech and services this year.
That’s what caught my eye over the last month. The full edition will be available soon on the Eagle website. Hope this was useful and I’ll be back with the September 2018 industry news in just about a month’s time.
Until then, Walk Fast and Smile!
Kevin Dee is the founder and Chairman of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
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